Our Research

Our research concerns the proteins involved in neurotransmitter recycling responsible for the reuptake of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. We are interested in how the structure of these proteins determines their ability to couple ion gradients to substrate transport. The transporters are responsible for the process that terminates the action of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and other neurotransmitters released into the synaptic cleft. They are targets for antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac) and for stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines, such as MDMA (Ecstasy). Current efforts in the laboratory include the identification of the pathway by which serotonin passes through the membrane, including residues that are involved in substrate and inhibitor binding and those involved in conformational changes that accompany transport. We are also studying the regulation of serotonin transporter activity by phosphorylation, and we are investigating bacterial homologues of the neurotransmitter transporter family for insights into the structure of these proteins.